The Nativity Story. This movie, which I’ve read as a screenplay, is about as faithful to the Gospels as a movie from Hollywood can be. Yet, I wonder…
This Christmas season, viewers of The Nativity Story will once again be confronted with the mixture of what the Bible says and what the Bible does not say. The screenplay by Mike Rich (Finding Forrester), which I was fortunate enough to have read, gives us every indication that the producers intend for this movie to dramatize what the Bible says in way that is faithful to the Bible.
Therein lies a catch.
Dramatizing the Bible inevitably involves interpretation at the hand of the director (Catherine Hardwicke, Thirteen). Most importantly, the producers will have to fill in gaps by guessing – on the basis of hints and evidence from the world of Jesus – what the characters were like. What did Joseph and Mary look like? What kind of clothing did they wear? What kinds of expressions will be seen in their eyes and faces? What kind of emotions will we see? What kind of tone do they bring to their words? Were they afraid? Were they ever-faithful? Did they wonder how God would bring all of this about?
I’m hoping this movie will lead many to re-think the image we have of Mary by returning once again to the Bible to see what it says.